A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Heart: The Cold Hard Truth

Cold-hearted, hard-hearted, "he has no heart" - all phrases we use for those who are cruel and unfeeling towards others.  I was thinking today of hearts and their condition.  During church, I thought of the verse that talks about stony hearts - couldn't remember where it was in the bible, turns out it is in Ezekiel 11:19:  "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh..."
A stony heart turning to flesh
As one of the speakers was talking about unity, I thought this was an appropriate verse.  On the rare occasions when I do good deeds, it's often with a "stony" heart - a heart that is begrudging of the time/money/talents it takes from me.  All too often, my prayer is that God will give me a heart of "flesh" - of empathy towards my fellowmen and women.  But if we are to be one - as a society, a church, a family, or whatever, then we must have compassion and kindness towards others.

Someone else shared today that she noticed that compassion has "compass" in it.  She talked about how one of the definitions of "compass" is "to extend or stretch around; hem in; surround; encircle" (that's Dictionary.com's definition, but that's basically what she was saying).  Compassion should be that kind of feeling, the kind that encircles those we love and serve in a warm embrace.

Henry B. Eyring said in a recent talk:
With all your differences in personal circumstances and past experiences, I can tell you something of what lies ahead for you. As you keep the faith, you will find yourself invited by the Lord often to serve someone in need when it will not seem convenient. It may appear to be an unpleasant and perhaps even impossible task. When the call comes, it may seem you are not needed or that someone else could easily give the succor.

My heart is so imperfect and stony sometimes, especially when doing good inconveniences me. My heart misjudges, condemns, and hardens far, far, far too often.  It's not like a soft heart is unalloyed joy, either.  Having a heart of flesh is risky - it opens you up to rejection, heartache, betrayal and other heart-pains.  The other side of it, however, is the lovely emotions of generosity, compassion, empathy, sympathy, kindness, and love - things we would never get to feel if our hearts were stony.

To start, I hope that I can at least have the desire to have a new spirit, a new heart of flesh. Desire is the first step towards that "change of heart" to use another heart-y phrase.  Politics and religion are both areas where it is easy to have a "stony" heart towards others and to misunderstand one another.  Let's have undivided hearts as a country and a people.  Utopian, I know.

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